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Authors: Mina Carter & BJ Barnes
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The Wildcat and the Doctor
Copyright 2013 Mina Carter and BJ Barnes
Cover Art by Mina Carter
Published by Blue Hedgehog Press: March 2013.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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Blue Hedgehog Press:
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual
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He was so screwed.
Saarday Vann stood in the departures lounge of Star Base Sixteen and watched the exhaust lights of his transport home dwindle to nothing in the distance. Fuck, he was going to catch so much flack from his brother for this. The last of his energy draining as though someone had pulled the plug, he leaned his forehead against the toughened transparent thermoplastic in front of him and sighed heavily.
Pushing off, he caught sight of his reflection in the glass and grimaced. “Ugh...”
He’d been so intent on making his shuttle that he hadn’t even showered, so after a week in the field—a week in some of the dirtiest, lowdown combat he’d ever encountered in all his years as a soldier—he was bruised, battered and stank to high heaven.
A shower was definitely in order. Like yesterday.
Turning, he swung his pack around and slung it over his shoulder to amble through the crowds milling around the departure lounge. SB16 was one of the major hubs in this sector of space, which meant the throng of people around him was made up of fleet personnel, base staff and the general public, all intent on getting where they were going. Which also meant most of them were getting underfoot, only a few glancing up at his tall, broad-shouldered form and grim expression before scuttling out of the way.
“Idjits,” he grumbled under his breath.
Half the people moving along the promenade zipped to and fro like insects on sugar highs. The other half seemed to be wading through old engine grease off a derelict transport shuttle. They strolled along aimlessly, window shopping or – even worse - stopping right in front of him to prattle on about anything. Gossipping asshats, the lot of them.
For a few, long minutes he tried to wade through the morass as politely as he could. He was a big man, and he was more than aware he could be intimidating, so he did his best to avoid that. But after the third person stomped all over his feet and the umpteenth elbow in his ribs, he gave up.
“Station security,” he called out in a voice designed to carry. “Coming through. Move it along people, lets clear a path.”
Before I shoot some of you in the ass to speed things up
Up ahead, he could see the banks of express lifts. He set out walking in that direction. Dressed in desert combats with a heavy bulldog of a gun hanging at his hip, he looked every inch of what he was. A soldier. Yet he wasn’t just any run of the mill soldier. He was a warrior.
A Sargosian warrior.
He was almost to the lifts when he ended up getting something more jolting than a sharp elbow to the ribs. He caught a glimpse of blonde hair out of the corner of his eye a moment before a woman crashed into him. The heat across his chest was instant but the wrong kind as scalding hot liquid splashed all over him. The strong, rich scent was instantly recognizable. Coffee. Even as he started cursing, the woman was apologizing.
“Oh no! I’m so sorry.”
She fluttered around him in that way some women had, her small hands brushing at his chest, which did nothing but press the sodden fabric against his bare skin. He winced as the wet cloth scalded him.
“Don’t worry about it. No, don’t,” he ordered, grabbing hold of her hands on the next brush and holding them out to the side. His skin stung, the fabric clinging uncomfortably, but he ignored it in favor of sweeping a concerned glance over her. “Did you get any on you?”
Her clothes looked okay. No marks stained the white blousy top thing she had on, and her pants looked liked they’d escaped the coffee cascade. There was a small splash on the scuffed leather of her boots, but nothing anywhere near her skin. Day breathed a sigh of relief and loosened his grip on her wrists a little. Then he looked into her face and stopped, dead.
She was gorgeous.
Tumbling blonde curls surrounded a face filled with delicate features. Wide-set blue-green eyes tilted up at the corners exotically, reminding him of a terran cat, set over a small, button nose. Full lips curved over a determined little jaw, just tempting him to lean down and sample them.
, he chastised himself. Just because he’d miss the transport home for the fertility festival didn’t mean he could leap on the first woman he came across to re-enact his own, private, celebration. Even if he hadn’t had a sniff of action in nearly a year, when his last relationship had gone down the pan in spectacular fashion. But,
, it was tempting...
Oh good going, Tess
Inwardly berating herself for giving a guy a coffee shower, she tried to reach for his shirt again, but he held onto her hands. Sighing, she glanced up, getting a better look at him this time and went still.
Breathing would be good right about now...
Of all the people she could smash into, she’d really done it this time by running full-tilt into a Sargosian warrior. A gorgeous one, too. Talk about embarrassing. Taking a deep breath, she tried to speak again and was grateful to sound somewhat normal. “I’m sorry, I looked over my shoulder for an instant and then...well...you know what happened. Will you let me have a look?”
There were a number of possible responses to her question. Watching the soldier strip off his sodden t-shirt in one swift move was not one Tess had considered.
Her gaze was already aimed at his chest, to check on the scald from the hot brew, but she was distracted by cuts and bruises scattered across a body that seem carved from stone. Some of the cuts - obvious knife wounds - were fresh, while others looked weeks old. Normally, she’d be hollering for a medic and dragging him with all haste to medbay herself to stop him from bleeding out. Except he wasn’t quite normal. Sargosians had the ability to heal, for their tissue to regenerate. It made them excellent soldiers, among other things.
Whether he could heal on his own or not, she came to a decision then and there. Reaching out, she took hold of his hand. “You’re coming with me. Now.”
His eyebrow arched up. Those full lips--wickedly sensual in an almost cruelly masculine face--pursed for a moment. “Bossy little thing, aren’t you?”
“I’m a doctor. It comes with the job description.” She smiled sweetly. “Would it work better if I asked nicely?” She wasn’t waiting for an answer and tugged him towards the lift.
“No, not really.”
He chuckled, the sound rich and deep, pulling a shiver from the depths of her soul to dance up her spine. Pulling back for a second, he scooped up the case and bag he’d dropped on the floor and then followed her as docile as a lamb. If a lamb had been born and bred for war, then spent most of its time on the battlefield, she acknowledged. The lift door closed behind them, leaving her trapped in the small space with a man she had no doubt could be very dangerous indeed.
He watched her, the small quirk at the corner of his lips saying he noticed her efforts not to stare at his naked chest. Damn it, why did he have to be built so nicely?
“You sure you’re a doctor?” he asked casually, as though they weren’t standing holding hands in a lift. “You look a little young...”
“Yes, I’m sure I’m a doctor.” She narrowed her eyes, but smirked. “Do I look young? Thank you. Flattery will get you everywhere.” Mentally, she facepalmed...big time.
What was that?
His grin grew broader. “I like that answer. So...what do I call you? Just Doctor?”
There was something about the tone of his voice, and the look in his eyes, a wonderfully clear hazel-green, that had Tess pausing. She didn’t normally flirt with her patients. Some doctors did, ignoring protocol, but she didn’t because if ever any of them took it seriously, then she’d be in an undesirable position, perhaps even facing charges. But this time a little devil on her shoulder urged her to give in, just this once, and see where it led.
“Dr. Tessa Evers, but you can call me Tess...or Doc.”
Tess...Call me Tess.
“Some people have called me ‘hey you’, but I don’t always answer to that one. Selective hearing,” she informed him and laughed softly.
She had noticed the tattoos on his knuckles earlier. Lead warrior tattoos. Along with the rest of the black swirls and loops that covered his arms from wrists to shoulders, the ink he wore not only told the story of his life, but proudly proclaimed his accomplishments. He had to be a very formidable warrior to carry so many tattoos.
“So...what do I call you? Just Lead, or are you going to tell me your name?”
The easy smile didn’t leave his face as the door behind them pinged when they reached their level. Ignoring it as it opened, he turned her hand and lifted it to his lips, planting a soft kiss on her knuckles. “You can call me Day, if you like... Tess.”
Oh, he was a charmer
. Like him, she didn’t move to exit the lift. She’d be lying if she said he didn’t affect her. He did. Oh hell yeah, he did.
“Day,” she echoed quietly. “I like.”
“Good... I’m glad.”
He smiled down at her. She forgot where they were, who they were, and even the fact that she’d been taking him back to medbay to sort out the burns across his chest. Burns she’d inflicted. The world narrowed down to just the two of them, and... his eyes really were a fascinating color.
“So...Tess. What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”
“Playing doctor,” she teased suddenly with a saucy grin. Her cheeks heated up, but she stubbornly ignored them. In truth, she was filling in for another doctor short term until she transferred to her new assignment.
Heat flashed in his eyes as he lowered her hand but didn’t let go of it. “If we’re playing doctors and nurses, does that mean you wear a sexy little outfit?” he asked in a low, gruff voice that sent a shimmy of near electric current across her skin.
She was saved from answering by the sound of loud voices behind them and a discussion of floor numbers. With a wink, Day turned her hand in his as he pivoted on a heel and led her from the turbolift. Rather than avoid eye contact with the approaching group of officers or make some quip about his shirtless state, or the fact that he was leading a furiously blushing woman by the hand, her knight-errant simply stared them down. As if daring them to make a comment.
Once they were well past them, she let out a small giggle and picked up their conversation exactly where it had left off. “I think the only doctors or nurses that wear sexy little outfits have names like Dr. Cherry Onatop and are in rather naughty holovideos. Or they’re the sort of companions that get paid to dress up.”
Curiosity set in though. What would he do if she wore a skimpy little skirt and top... and offered to take his...
He slid her a sideways glance, the look in his eyes hot enough to melt tri-titanium alloy.
“Really?” he asked, the expression on his face innocent. “I wouldn’t know... I don’t watch that kind of holovid.”
Realizing how her quip sounded and what it implied, Tess smacked a hand over her face. “Oh hell,” she choked out, trying to backpedal. “I don’t either. I mean, it’s not my idea of fun to sit there and watch that sort of thing. Though...” Her mouth snapped shut with an audible click from her teeth slamming together.
He chuckled as they reached the double doors of the medbay, a deliciously evil little sound that did strange things to her insides. This late at night the place was deserted, only the automated doctor online for routine complaints. Given the size and importance of SB16, they were sophisticated enough to distinguish between the mundane and a real emergency and then contact the relevant personnel.